My spouse doesn’t know how to parent the kids, and we fight about it all the time!

First and foremost, do not display your conflicts in front of the kids. Even if you don’t argue in front of them, they will feel the tension anyway. It’s damaging to kids of all ages to witness heated conflict, especially when it’s about them. Sadly, they will think that they are causing their parents to fight which can lead to any number of serious emotional damage.

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We suggest you make a list with a line down the middle of the page. On one side list all the ways you and your spouse agree in regards to raising the kids. Then, on the other side, list the ways you disagree. The two of you together do some research on parenting author/s who you both respect and think their way of parenting would be something you two could both support. We recommend books by Doctor William Sears.

Buy the book selections and do your research on how the author handles the issues that the two of you are in disagreement about. Agree beforehand that you both will follow the author’s way over your personal opinion of how things should be handled. If you cannot find the issues in the book you chose — we suggest you think of someone who has grown children that have turned out in a way you admire. Arrange a time to sit down with the parents — pen and paper in hand, to ask them how they would handle the issues you disagree about. Go together. Again, agree beforehand that you will go along with this person’s suggestions.

Mainly what you both need is a third party’s opinion and input. We can get very attached to our ideas on how our children should be raised — thinking that our way is the only ‘right’ way. Remember where your spouse’s heart is — they love your children as much as you do and want only the best for them too. If you can keep this in mind, it helps coming into agreement which is so important.